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Property Owners Along the High-speed Train’s Path Promise to Maintain Their Optimism

In the James Frederick Miles v. Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure case, a hearing was held on Friday.

Texas Central was given eminent domain rights in a 5-3 vote, giving the firm the power to compel landowners to sell their properties to them.

Following the resignation of Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar, who left the corporation without a leader, opponents and even some proponents of the contentious project believed the project was doomed.

The Texas Supreme Court was expected to rule, but the residents who lived along the railway’s route did not receive the decision they had hoped for. The verdict, according to them, is unexpected, perplexing, and sad.

To be very honest with you, the decision is unclear, said Gene Whitesides of Madison County.

“We were not anticipating the Texas Supreme Court to find in favour of a firm that won’t pick up the phone, can’t pay its taxes, and from what I hear, almost doesn’t exist anymore,” the plaintiffs said.

It was quite startling. I’m still perplexed as to how the state supreme court, and in particular, so many judges, could rule once more in favour of a business whose management has left, said Whitesides.

A veteran of the army with more than 20 years of national service, Whitesides. He claims that he never anticipated having to battle for his land.


In his own words, Whitesides, “I never in my wildest fantasies ever believed that I would have to fight my own state as well as the federal government.”

“We were hoping to give my children the land and at least keep it in their families for future generations to enjoy it, but at this time, we don’t even know whether that’s going to happen,” the owner said.

An expert in the eminent domain at Texas A&M’s Texas Real Estate Center is Rusty Adams. Although he claims he’s not surprised by the outcome, he adds that it could have gone either way.

According to Adams, “The majority opinion relied on a statute that was written well over 100 years ago and that was intended to allow eminent domain to be used to build interurban electric railways, which were essentially short-distance, low-speed trolley cars to move people between cities.”

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Adams says landowners may still have alternatives, but he is uncommitted to the issue.

It’s not impossible, in Adams’ opinion, that a new challenge might be successful. Since a constitutional challenge to the verdict in this instance was not raised, there may be alternative ways to challenge both the ruling itself and its use of the eminent domain.

Whitesides promises to keep fighting for their land with the support of his family.

Whitesides added, “We put our faith in God of course and pray and pray for those individuals that are impacted by this verdict and others that have yet to understand that they are impacted by this ruling.

Texas Central and its legal counsel at Jackson-Walker have not responded to KBTX’s inquiries. The decision is described as a “historic win” on the attorney’s website.

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